New York City Activities
L’Arche de Noé (Noah’s Ark) (Closed)
547 W. 26th St., Chelsea
For its new L'Arche de Noé (Noah's Ark) collection, French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels tapped famed theater director Robert Wilson ("Madama Butterfly," "Einstein on the Beach") to transform the Cedar Lake performance space in Chelsea into a cabinet of curiosities. Here, more than 60 jeweled brooches—everything from diamond-studded lapis lazuli elephants to zebras with onyx-and-diamond stripes are on display. Interestingly, Wilson reduces the Ark—the biggest object in the story—to a minimal, white wooden version, which is suspended from the ceiling. The exhibit is on view through November 19th, and there's also a series of arts & crafts programming for littles, including a make-your-own-treasure chest workshop taught by instructors from Maison Van Cleef & Arpels. (Events are free and open to the public, but advanced reservations are required.)
Manhattan Beach Park
Ocean Ave & Mackenzie St., Manhattan Beach
Significantly less hectic than nearby Coney Island (though both the beach and the boardwalk are worth a visit), Manhattan Beach is an excellent option if you want the sand-and-ocean experience without having to go too far outside the city, to say, Fire Island or Asbury. There are basketball courts and lots of space for picnicking and barbecuing—plus, there’s usually a Mr. Softee ice-cream truck parked at the entrance. Keep in mind that it’s a bit of a walk from the Sheepshead Bay Q-train station, so pack as light as possible.
Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Park
The Prospect Park Zoo is one of those kid-centric activities that parents really get a kick out of, too. The residents of the beautiful and meticulously cared-for enclosures run the gamut from tamarins and baboons to otters and sea lions—and so many more. Many of the exhibits are interactive, so kids pick up a lot of educational stuff without even realizing it. The week-long summer camps are a dream come true for budding zoologists.
40 Bogart St., Bushwick
Think of Syndicated as a one-stop-shop for the dinner-and-a-movie date. In the front, there's a restaurant and bar area for old-fashioned eating and drinking (with a great seasonal menu to match) with a fun, buzzy atmosphere. In the back, there's a movie theater (also with an excellent food and drink menu) that plays an awesomely curated selection of movies at a $3 ticket price, including everything from old black-and-whites to documentaries to cult classics. The whole operation is undeniably fun.
Designed in the late 1800's by the same duo behind Manhattan's Central Park (Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux), Prospect Park, although not quite as large, is still massive at 580-plus acres, spanning multiple neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and offering plenty of outdoor fun. If you want to picnic and chill, head to Long Meadow near the top of the park (you can enter at the Grand Army Plaza or one of the openings along Prospect Park West)—which is touted as the longest green stretch in any U.S. park, at nearly a mile long. South of Long Meadow is the Ravine, an expansive woodland and waterway landscape. Further east, there's the Prospect Park Zoo and carousel. Water activities (including Prospect Park's Splash Pad) are housed at Le Frak Center at Lakeside near the southeast corner of the park. Also nearby, check out Drummer's Grove.
109 W. 17th St., Chelsea
We’re pretty smitten with the concept here: Founder Alison Cayne transformed a carriage house into a cooking school/supper club, where area chefs lead classes on everything from cooking Vietnamese food with fresh herbs to gluten and allergen-free baking. Once the meal is made, participants grab chairs and eat the spoils together.
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, Soho
Though the International Culinary Center is one of the country’s best institutes for turning out chefs, sommeliers, and managers, they offer one-day crash courses for home cooks, too. The classes are wonderfully specific, with the intent of 24-hour mastery, whether you want to try your hand at cupcake decoration, fondant, or the basics of sushi.
1 E. 161st St., Bronx
Between April and September, making it to a baseball game—either to see the Mets or the Yankees—is pretty much mandatory. The Yankees have a new stadium in the Bronx—across the street from the original—while the Mets have swanky new digs at Citi Field in Queens. No game is complete without indulging in a sandwich from Parm or a burger from Shake Shack (Yankees and Mets, respectively).
New York City Ballet
20 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side
Whether for an opera, a musical, or a ballet, an evening out at the gem-like Lincoln Center always makes for a wonderful, dressed-up night out. This season, we’re especially looking forward to George Balanchine's Firebird (scenery and costumes by painter Marc Chagall) and Swan Lake, and what the always avant-garde choreographers Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky have in store with Wheeldon’s American Rhapsody set to George Gershwin's music, and Ratmansky’s promised premiere in early 2017.
61 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
This adults-only bowling alley turned concert venue provides an entertainment trifecta, guaranteeing a pretty great night out, especially in a group. You can bowl to great music (Questlove, for one, DJs on Thursdays), dine on Blue Ribbon’s fried chicken and spiked milkshakes, and see the occasional big-name group.